The Somerset Water Forum took place on 17th June 2022 at Junction 24 Conference Centre, Sedgemoor Auction Centre.  This was the first event of its kind and and involved a day of presentations and discussions around water-related issues in Somerset.

The event was hosted by Somerset Catchment Partnership (SCP) in collaboration with Somerset Rivers Authority, the Environment Agency and FWAG SouthWest.


A great turnout for the first Somerset Water Forum.


The Water Forum was chaired by Anthony Gibson, SCP Chairman, and was attended by approximately 120 people. Delegates were made up of Somerset residents, landowners, community action groups, local and parish council representatives, flood wardens, government bodies, NGO’s and private businesses.

The event started with an opening keynote speech from Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, who at the time was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment within Defra. Ms Pow’s responsibilities included water and flooding, the domestic natural environment, and environmental public bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency.


Rebecca Pow starting off the Somerset Water Forum - watch her speech and Q & A above on our Youtube channel.


Ms Pow then passed over to David Mitchell and Jonathan Hudston from Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), who gave some background on the role of the SRA and an update on Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan.


Johnathan Hudston from the Somerset Rivers Authority talking through the Somerset Flood Action Plan.


Other speakers included representatives from the Met Office, Environment Agency, FWAG SouthWest, RSPB, Natural England, Plymouth University, Wessex Water, Somerset Local Nature Partnership and Somerset Wildlife Trust. 

A key focus throughout the day was Somerset’s approach to tackling issues such as current and future flooding, drought, biodiversity and water quality challenges. Delegates heard from some of Somerset’s most innovative projects about what’s being done now, and priorities for the future.


Emma Baker from the Environmental Agency giving an insight into how Somerset is adapting to climate change.

Will Barnard, Moor Association Coordinator for FWAG SW starting off his joint presentation with Damon Bridge. 


Subjects covered during the morning session included climate change impacts, land management on the Somerset Levels and Moors, water quality and phosphate issues. In the afternoon delegates heard about natural capital and Nature Based Solutions, where presentations covered lowland peat restoration, Somerset Beaver Strategy and other innovative ways of working with nature.


Shelly Easton from the Somerset Wildlife Trust giving her talk about the Somerset Beaver Strategy. 


Organisations including Wessex Water, EDF, NFU, CLA and Somerset Water Action Network (SWAN) supported the event by attending with information stands and taking part in the interactive Q&A panel sessions throughout the day. Bridgwater and Taunton College kindly provided filming of the event by their media students.

The event was a great success and is something we hope may continue as an annual event.


Below are the presentations from the days events;